I studied Art at Birmingham and currently work from a studio on The Canal Basin in Coventry.
I have been awarded various residencies and awards. A notable achievement was being awarded The Stanley Smith Bursary from The University of Birmingham’s Botanic Garden (Winterbourne) where I was given a studio in The Gardens and spent a year working alongside biologists and learning about ecology, conservation, biodiversity, medicinal plant use, ethnopharmacology, sustainability, and botany. The artwork produced during this period (‘Taken Root’) went on to tour the UK to ten, non-traditional gallery settings.
Also of note was the ACE funding in 2013 to work alongside a mathematician from The University of Warwick, looking at mathematical patterns found in nature. This resulted in a study of a local landmark, The War Memorial Park, wherein I produced a series of 36 pieces (‘Equate’), each depicting a mathematical pattern found in the park.
My work is held in corporate and public collections in Ireland, USA, Canada, Dubai, South Africa and Australia and has been sold as limited edition prints by John Lewis Partnership. I have a long history of commission-based projects.
Ethnobotany is what drives my creative practice. This can be seen as the interrelationship between people and plants and, put simply, studies the impact that plants have on people and visa versa. I relentlessly search for stories, dig for significances and uncover emotional attachments as I want my work to explore this relationship and build upon it. Plants play a critical role in human survival, but they have also been instrumental in shaping our history and civilization and thinking.
Lesley Whelan’s work is held in the following corporate collections:
TCW Investment Group, London/New York · MODRU Dept, Heartlands Hospital, Birmingham · St. Josephs Hospice, London · Bruker Engineering, Coventry · Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, Coventry · Murdoch Bowers, London · RJD Ltd, Essex · Birmingham International Airport · J.Foreman Architects, Brough · Petro-Canada, London · Aesthetics Events, Dubai, UAE · Lloyds Number 1, Coventry · ‘The White Swan’, Solihull · Winterbourne Botanic Gardens, Birmingham University · Marie Curie, Solihull · Queensway Housing Project, Leamington Spa · Askews Legal, Coventry